Before Alzheimer’s, my dad had a great memory. I always found it amazing that he could remember so many people, so many details, and had so many stories. He reminisced often, reliving moments in his mind and telling those around him. He even wrote his autobiography years ago when he was recovering from a surgery. Not one to enjoy being still for long periods of time, he decided to put his life story on paper. It was very interesting reading. It was comedy, adventure and mystery. The comedy was often the result of his love of being a prankster. The adventure came primarily from being on his own from the age of thirteen and the many exploits he had concocted to do. The mystery was in the reader having to decipher not only his penmanship but also the multitude of misspelled words. He was master of many things. Spelling was not one of those things.
His autobiography, however, was not a drama. He chose not to write about the reasons he was on his own at such a young age. He did not write about the heartache he had experienced as a child or an adult. He did not write about the things that were difficult, unless he could make it a funny tale. He did not include business ventures that went south or his struggles as a father with the very children who would read his story. He chose to write about the things he wanted us to know, mostly things that would make us laugh or cringe. His stories showed his strength and his character without arrogance or self-adulation. He simply wrote what he had done. And whether or not it was a strong motivation for writing, the things he shared helped us know him better.
We have thought of Your steadfast love, O God, in the midst of Your temple. As is your name, O God, so is Your praise to the ends of the earth; Your right hand is full of righteousness. Let Mount Zion be glad! Let the daughters of Judah rejoice because of Your judgments! Walk about Zion, and go around about her, number her towers – her lofty and noble deeds of past days. Consider well her ramparts, go through her palaces and citadels, that you may tell the next generation – and cease recalling disappointments. For this God is our God forever and ever; He will be our guide even until death. Psalm 48:9-14
This is the verse God led me to this week. I’ve been recalling a recent disappointment. Not only was I thinking about it, but I found myself repeating it to others. This brought only a deeper level of disappointment over the experience along with that uncomfortable “knowing” that each time I repeated it I was grieving the Holy Spirit.
Whatever our experiences, God longs for our trust in Him to use them for our good. But we will never see the good He is working if we are constantly recalling the disappointments. The writer of this psalm was encouraging God’s people to remember all He had done. And not only remember his marvelous deeds, but to tell them to the next generation.
Sharing my disappointments may result in sympathy or empathy given to me for what I have experienced, but those are not lasting moments and they don’t really change my perspective – they keep me in my own self-centeredness. Choosing to focus on the fact that God is my God forever and ever will not only change my attitude, but will have eternal value. It’s when we tell of His greatness in the midst of our disappointments that the next generation learns more of Who He really is.
Daddy may not have been able to spell the simplest of words, but he was a very smart man.